Mammoth tusk hunters 1
Every year in April, mammoth tusk hunters from Arctic Yakutia cross the frozen sea on snowmobiles to reach the New Siberian Islands. Here the melting permafrost in spring forces mammoth tusks (and occasionally entire mammoths) out of the ground. The mammoth tusk hunters collect as many as possible before transporting them to Yakutsk for sale. This unique itinerary offers travellers the chance to join the mammoth tusk hunters in their search, travelling over 1000km on snowmobiles from their villages on Yakutia’s Arctic Ocean coast to the islands and back. Guests will travel through the best part of Yakutia for polar bear sightings and will also visit the New Siberian Islands’ kisilyakh.
The mamoth tusk hunters usually travel to th New Siberian Islands in April, while the sea is still thickly frozen. They then stay there until it freezes again in November. A few risk their lives travelling back to the mainland in motorboats, but this is extremely dangerous as waves can be up to 15 feet tall. We will therefore visit them in mid-April, at the beginning of their season.
|Day 1||Afternoon or evening flight from Moscow to Yakutsk (7 hour flight, six hour time difference)|
|Day 2||Arrive in Yakutsk early morning. At 11:40 fly north for 2.5 hours to Deputatskiy, a village of population 2,000 located 400km north of Yakutia’s Arctic Circle. Drive all night on ice road to reach Kazache, an even smaller village of population 1,000 over 500km north of the Arctic Circle.|
|Day 3||Arrive in Kazache. Overnight in local home.|
|Days 4 – 5||Spare days in Kazache. These are essential, as flights from Yakutsk to Deputatskiy are regularly cancelled due to bad weather. Without these spare days we would run a high risk of not being able to complete the itinerary.If the flight is delayed, these days will be spent in Yakutsk and excursions in the city and nearby will be organised. If the flight is not delayed, these days will be spent in either Kazache or Ust-Kuyga (see below).|
|Day 5||Travel 220km by snowmobile to the tiny village of Yukagir, population 120. Overnight in a local home.|
|Day 6||Travel 170km by snowmobile to Buustakh, a few cabins where inspectors from “Yana Mammoths” National Park live.|
|Day 7||Cross 60km of frozen sea on snowmobiles to reach Great Lyakhov Island, almost 1000km north of the Arctic Circle and the southernmost of the New Siberian Islands. Here we will visit the island’s kisilyakh and have a good chance of seeing polar bears, reindeer, arctic fox and lemmings.|
|Days 8 – 9||Start the hunt for mammoth tusks, while overnighting in a hunter’s cabin on the island.|
|Days 9||Travel 230km by snowmobile from Great Lyakhov to Yukagir village.|
|Day 10||Return 220km by snowmobile to Kazache.|
|Day 11||Travel 225km by car along an ice road to Ust-Kuyga, population 700. Afternoon flight to Yakutsk.|
|Days 12 – 13||Spare days in Yakutsk in case bad weather has delayed the flight from Ust-Kuyga.|
|Day 14||Morning flight from Yakutsk to Moscow. Arrive midday.|
|Number of guests||Price per guest|
*Flights Moscow – Yakutsk – Deputatskiy and Ust-Kuyga – Yakutsk – Moscow
*All ground transport as per the above itinerary
*All accommodation as per the above itinerary
*All food and driks, apart from in Yakutsk and Moscow
*English-speaking interpreter accompanying group from Moscow
*Local guides and drivers starting from Kazache
*Border zone permits
*Letter of invitation for Russian visa
Price does not include:
*Transport, accommodation, food or guiding in Moscow, although this can be added at extra cost
*Alcoholic beverages, souvenirs, personal expenses, etc.
As the trip takes place in a border zone that requires a special permit for entry, we kindly ask you to send u scopies of your passports no later than 2.5 months before the trip start date, so that we have time to process your permits.